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Want to start traveling smarter so you wind up getting to your destination relaxed, but aren’t sure how?
With technological improvements and lowered costs within the airline industry, travel has become a bigger part of our everyday lives. With that said, travel can be both an incredible experience, as well as a sometimes stressful or less-than-ideal one. To make every trip incredible, it’s important to keep some things in mind. One thing you may not have considered is how the airports you stop at along your travels can help improve your whole experience.
Read on as we let you in on the 4 most important tips to remember when travelling, to have the most stress-free and enjoyable experience possible.
1. Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail
The planning stage is often the most important part of your trip. Reading blogs and watching videos of people that have been to the destinations you are visiting, and deciding on the correct modes of transport, are essential to getting your trip off to the right start. If you’re landing in rush hour in a big city for example, it’s probably better to take the train to your hotel, rather than hailing a cab. You’ll end up sitting in traffic while constantly looking at your watch. At Hong Kong Airport for example, you can check in for your flight from the central train station. Zurich Airport is also super-convenient when planning your trip: when flying Swiss Air, you can check your bags in from any train station in Switzerland.
In general, booking ahead is essential, so make sure all these details are handled before you arrive. Having things pre-booked also reduces stress down the line, when you’re sure to be more tired, hungry, and time-pressured. Not to mention the issues of not having a good internet connection.
When booking your tickets, there are a number of price comparison websites out there, each with a slightly different pricing structure, so it’s worthwhile to check as many of these as you can. One great tip, especially if your dates are relatively flexible, is to search by month rather than specific dates, and then choose the actual dates that provide you with the best value for money.
2. Make The Most Of Every Trip
If you have a particular destination in mind, why not add a stopover somewhere else and explore some of the local culture?
Tokyo Haneda Airport for example gives you access to Tokyo’s incredible culture, which is on the go, day and night. Authentic whisky bars, arcades, amazing food, and even baseball batting cages are available at any time.
If you’re pressed for time and want a cultural experience, try flying via Seoul Incheon Airport. Not only can you enjoy an ice-skating rink and a golf driving range, but you can take in the Korean Cultural Experience and the Korean Culture Museum, which includes thousand-year-old artwork. Talking about culture, another airport with great artworks on public display is Amsterdam Schiphol, so don’t miss these if you’re there.
Dubai is another great option, with flights to almost everywhere else in the world arriving and leaving from Dubai Airport. Spend a few days shopping in Dubai, and then continue your trip. And if you have to stop somewhere but can’t leave the airport, try Singapore’s Changi airport.
Named “the world's best airport" for the 5th year in a row, it boasts 4 terminals including 24-hour movie theaters, a butterfly garden (yes, really), a 4-story-high slide, massage therapists, an orchid garden, and a rooftop pool! If it’s a summer stopover, Munich Airport has an awesome stationary wave pool set up for surfing.
3. Pack Smart
Packing light is great, until you run out of clothing mid-trip. On the other hand, lugging a giant suitcase around Rome in the summer isn’t fun either. Choosing the right luggage items, and what to pack, can make or break a trip.
To help, we suggest making a list first, and then packing what you need. Most airlines let you take a full-size suitcase, hand luggage, and a backpack. For trips with a stopover where you’ll be spending time outside the airport, go with just a suitcase—which you can put in a locker at the airport—and a backpack, in which you can carry all your essentials around with you. There is also a whole range of “smart luggage” available, which includes suitcases with chargers for your phone and laptop, and even GPS trackers. While these can really add to your trip and reduce issues of lost baggage, note that many airlines are taking steps to prevent such luggage (especially those items where the battery cannot be removed) from being used.
Remember to make sure you have no liquids in your hand luggage. Having to throw away that Chanel No.5 at the gate is never a happy experience. If you do have to replenish essentials that were lost to security checks, remember that airports like London Heathrow offer really affordable shopping options, with stores like Boots, and M&S alongside the classic big-name (and expensive) airport stores.
4. Lounge Around
Airports can be stressful. Tons of people rushing to get places, security checks, long lines, taking things out of bags, and trying to remember where you put your passport are all familiar experiences for most people.
The airport lounge is a quiet oasis in the middle of all the craziness, where you can relax, have something to eat or drink, read a newspaper, and most importantly, sit down comfortably. There are a number of ways of getting access to the lounge; some credit cards provide this as part of their service, and other companies and airlines offer this as part of a rewards program. If you don’t have these, most lounges accept a cash payment to enter.
It’s definitely worth looking up the lounges at the airports you’ll be visiting. If it’s just not possible to arrange the lounge, then make sure you’re flying via an airport that is as pleasant as possible. For this we recommend Vancouver Airport – where over 400 Green Coats volunteers are around to help, answer any questions, and give you the best travel experience possible.
Travel can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn from others’ experiences by doing the research, pack well and plan ahead, and you’ll be all set. With some good planning and smart decisions, any trip can turn out to be a wonderful, relaxing and invigorating experience. Happy travels!